Mar 182014
 

Recipe-RobberI’ve written many times about how individual  recipes can’t be copyrighted here in the US. But did you realize that you can defend a copyright if parts of your recipe contain “substantial literary expression?”

What exactly is that, and why should you bother?

“Substantial literary expression” establishes the information in a recipe as yours. That could be just as important as copyright, when it comes to theft.

Let me explain. US copyright law defines substantial literary expression as: Continue reading »

Mar 112014
 
David-Joachim

Author, co-author, ghostwriter, and reference writer Dave Joachim has the drive to do it all.

Dave Joachim has 40 books under his belt, almost all of them cookbooks, including the “A Man, A Can, A Plan” series of five books which has sold more than 1 million copies.

I spoke with Dave about his latest book and his thoughts about cookbook negotiating and writing: 

Q. Congrats on your latest book, Global Kitchen. Is it a work-for-hire with royalties, from Cooking Light? That’s an unusual arrangement. 

A. Actually, I got an advance for this book. The material I created – apart from my 30 recipes — was a work-for-hire. The publisher, Time Home Entertainment Inc., owns Cooking Light and several other publications and they own the rights to use the material in Global Kitchen elsewhere.

Regarding the 30 recipes, the publication has the right to the material for a certain time, and then the rights revert to me. So if I want to Continue reading »

Feb 252014
 

A guest post by Nancy Baggett

2DayaWeekDietCookbookREDOFINAL-72-small

Something new for these two authors: a Kindle book for $3.99 that must be promoted online for best results.

After writing 16 cookbooks for mainstream American cookbook publishers over nearly three decades, I just co-published my first Kindle book. It’s a 250-page co-authored work called The 2 Day a Week Diet Cookbook, with 75 recipes and 50 color photographs for $3.99.

What made this project different was that, from the beginning, my co-author Ruth Glick and I planned to create a Kindle book. We never considered pitching it to publishers. Ruth had already written a number of Kindle books (mostly novels), and when she proposed that we collaborate, I promptly agreed.

In retrospect, I can see how this self-publishing process would be daunting for inexperienced authors. Going the indie Kindle route meant foregoing a publisher’s hand-holding and the usual editorial, production, and marketing assistance. Having written numerous cookbooks, we felt confident doing the recipe development, editing and proofreading, and even writing blurbs. The jobs that were less familiar, particularly Continue reading »

Feb 112014
 
It's-Complicated

Think editing is complicated? It doesn’t have to be. But it’s critical to becoming a better writer.

Writing is rewriting, as the saying goes. And while it’s true, do you know what to look for when you read your first draft, or how to improve it?

Here’s what I look for when I edit both my own posts and the work of others:

1. Keep your focus. Do you start by moaning about a cold, move to the merits of a new smoothie you made for breakfast, and end with a recipe for chocolate cake? Stick to a Continue reading »

Jan 212014
 

Kicking-In-the-Wall“When you hit a wall, kick it in.”

That’s the advice playwright Sam Shepard gave to musician Patti Smith early in her career. She had said to him, “I would go as far as I could and hit a wall, my own imagined limitations” and that was his response.

Sound familiar? This line from Smith’s memoir, Just Kids, inspired author Barbara Abercrombie to write Kicking in the Wall: A Year of Writing Exercises, Prompts and Quotes to Help You Break Through Your Blocks and Reach Your Writing Goals.

Inside are 365 five-minute writing exercises, a great way to jumpstart your writing for the new year. Dip in and pick Continue reading »

Jan 072014
 

Boxing glovesThis month, everyone’s thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Let’s try something less traditional than dieting and juice fasts. Let’s try challenging negative self-talk as writers and communicators.

I’ll start. I have beliefs that hold me back. I bet you have them too. I say these things subconsciously, and I believe them far more often than I should. I fear if I hear them often enough, they will become true. That’s a good motivator to do something about it.

The trick is to hear what the inner critic says and then reframe the self-talk to become more positive and accepting. That’s my Continue reading »

Dec 312013
 
Teaching in Dubai in October 2013, thanks to Food Blogger Connect.

That’s me, lucky enough to teach a food writing workshop in Dubai this past year, thanks to Bethany Kehdy and Food Blogger Connect. From there, I vacationed in Jordan and Israel. (Photo by Owen Rubin.)

At the end of 2013 — my fourth year as a blogger — I’m taking time to say how grateful I am to have you as a reader. Whether you’re a frequent commenter or you’ve never left a note, I’m thankful you’re here. 

To be honest, sometimes I’m surprised that anyone wants to read, considering how much Continue reading »